Southeast's Miller Passes 600 Win Mark, Keeps Winning

By: Louis Montesi, III
By: Louis Montesi, III

On December 28th, 2013, the Southeast Lauderdale girls basketball team defeated Sumter Central, giving head coach Joe Miller his 600th win as Tiger head coach. It' is a big number, but it's just one of many for this Lauderdale County legend.

"Had an awful lot of talent, and I think that's the key to winning," said coach Miller. "You know, we've had nine kids that were Mississippi All-Stars over the years."

Nine all-stars, two Clarion-Ledger players of the year, 12 title appearances and four state championships... it's all part of Miller's unbelievable resume. He always credits his athletes, which makes sense, because Miller was an athlete himself.

He graduated from Northeast Lauderdale in 1964 where was a four-sport athlete for the trojans. He then played basketball and baseball for EMCC.

But at age 44, Miller, then a teacher at EMCC, took a new turn when he was offered a coaching job at his old rival high school, Southeast Lauderdale.

"When I first came here, it was quite strange, because I had Trojans in my blood, but now my blood runs blue."

At the start of his 24th season, Miller admits the game has changed, becoming more physical over the years. What hasn't changed is his intensity as a floor coach and his relationships with his players.

"They're always important to me and what their achievements are after school," said Miller. "I'm really proud of them when they go on and get a college degree."

Miller says he's almost finished coaching, but at age 67, he's still healthy, and shows no signs of stopping.

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